Sunday, September 26, 2010

Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf

Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man who is trying to get the so called Ground Zero Mosque built, was just on 60 Minutes and had some interesting things to say.

When asked why he is working to build this community center:

"Because we wanted to prevent another 9/11. We wanted to -- we wanted a platform that would enable us to speak, to strengthen the voice of the moderates."

When asked why build the community center at the proposed location and not somewhere else:

"If another 9/11 happens again, I want to be the first to die. Muslims want to stand right there to say that we are here. It's my duty as an American Muslim to stand between you, the American non-Muslim, and the radicals who are trying to attack you."

This doesn't at all sound like a radical Islamist. He sounds like a patriotic American and moderate Muslim. Beyond those two quotes, his background supports the idea that he is working to rob power from the radicals in Islam. It seems to me that we need brave men and women like him to win the contest against the radicals within their faith. Instead of bickering with our fellow Americans over this building, we ought to be encouraging them in their efforts to forge a post Age of Enlightenment version of  Islam.  Or at least not getting in their way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Air Cannon, Year 2

How did I forget to put this into my blog?

Once again this Summer some friends and I got together to fire our air cannon.  You can see a short video I assembled of last year's mayhem here.  This year, one of our number included a videographer and editor who shot footage and put together the following video.

Our plans for next Summer are to rebuild the cannon with a faster valve to make it more efficient and to set up some high angle shots to simulate meteorite impacts.  There has also been some talk of making sabot encased, fin stabilized, steel rods to... well... shoot at stuff.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Discovery Channel Gunman

Although I consider myself to be a left-leaning moderate, I have been accused by some conservatives of being a leftist loon.  Fair enough with opinions being what they are, but I won't quietly accept a label by the fringe right as being safe to lump in with the fringe left.  Truthfully, I don't really care all that much about ideology and I certainly have no loyalty to one.  I care about evidence based reason and rational discourse.  So when a perspective is blatantly, offensively wrong, it must be spoken out against regardless of the political "side" it came from.

The fringe environmentalist movement is an example of something that I will not associate with and will speak out against.  Why?  In short because their ideology is neither based upon nor acted upon out of respect for rationality.  This sad fact attracts unbalanced people whose behavior is all too often sociopathic.

The Discovery Channel's Washington DC area headquarters were the setting of a hostage situation this week in which a very disturbed man used the threat of violence to change policy at the Discovery Channel and its network.

James J Lee entered the building with a firearm and explosives.  He took three employees hostage and demanded that the network change its programming to better fit his own beliefs. Beliefs that can be summed up as, "Humans are evil.  We must save the planet from ourselves.  I'll use violence as a means to my end."  You can read his list of demands here:  Washington Examiner article.

The man was mentally deranged.  His beliefs were extremist and his behavior was disgusting.  He needed to be in treatment for his unbalanced mind, not formulating or executing an attack on a TV network.

[Picture is from CBS News]